Coronavirus: India advises citizens against non-essential travel to Singapore

Airport officials checking passengers' temperatures amid the ongoing coronavirus situation, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai on Feb 19, 2020.
Airport officials checking passengers' temperatures amid the ongoing coronavirus situation, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai on Feb 19, 2020.PHOTO: AFP/CSMIA

NEW DELHI - India issued a fresh travel advisory on Saturday (Feb 22) asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore as part of attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The advisory comes after one last month that asked people to refrain from travelling to China.

The new advisory, which is expected to curtail tourist inflow into Singapore, also noted that passengers on incoming flights from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia will be screened for symptoms.

India is among the top sources of international arrivals to Singapore and accounted for more than 1.4 million visitors in 2019.

"It will definitely have an impact but it is difficult to say right away to what extent," Mr Pronab Sarkar, the president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators told The Straits Times.

"There is an ongoing slowdown of tourist outflow not just to Singapore but also other countries. Families are avoiding travel at the moment because of ongoing school examinations.

"So the impact, if any, will become clearer during the summer holiday season in May to June."

India announced on Feb 13 that passengers on all direct incoming flights from Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Thailand would undergo screening. Such a measure has been in place for passengers from China and Hong Kong since January.

India screens passengers at 21 international airports as well as some major sea ports. It has already checked nearly 400,000 flight passengers and around 10,000 travellers at sea ports.

 
 
 

The country has reported three confirmed coronavirus cases - all of those infected were students from the southern Indian state of Kerala studying in China. They have been released after recovering fully with the last of the three going home on Friday.

But this figure does not include infected Indian citizens abroad, including 12 who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship now moored in Yokohama.

India has also flown back two batches of evacuees from China, comprising 640 Indians and seven Maldivian nationals. Most of them were students studying medicine there.

They were taken directly to two special quarantine facilities on arrival. Most of them have been discharged after testing negative for the virus.